Argentine Mondays: June 5th, 2017
Welcome to Argentine Mondays, your Monday morning update on what happened in Argentina while you were otherwise engaged over the weekend. Sit back and enjoy while the morning caffeine kicks in.
Elections in Corrientes, Chaco and La Rioja
These three provinces kicked of the electoral year as they went to the voting booths yesterday for different reasons. The election in Corrientes was for the mayor of its capital city (of the same name) which was won by Eduardo Tassano and Emilio Lanari with 50.17% of the vote.
Meanwhile, in Chaco, there were primary elections in which voters chose the candidates for legislative elections in July which will define changes in its provincial Chamber of Deputies. At the time of this newsletter, 96.94% of the polling stations have been tallied and the Peronist Frente Chaco Merece Más have dominated the vote with 50.09% with runners-up from Cambiemos front obtaining just 33.49%.
Finally, La Rioja voted for members of the provincial legislature in seven out of 18 provincial districts. With 99.78% of the polling stations, the Justicialist Party (PJ) has obtained 25.01% of the vote with Frente Encuentro por La Rioja coming second with 19.60%.
Third #NiUnaMenos march
Thousands marched across the country for equal rights for the third time on Saturday in the annual Ni Una Menos march which first took place on June 3rd 2015. The largest concentration of people was in the city of Buenos Aires, where people congregated in front of Congress and marched to Plaza de Mayo, and there were Tucumán, Rosario, Córdoba and Mendoza provinces.
There were demands for raising awareness about femicides, calls for legalising abortion and improving sex education, and for the state to follow through with specific policies — including the promised Specialised Femicide Registry and the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Assistance and Erradication of Violence Against Women. This year, one prominent demand was for the liberation of "Higui," a woman who has been detained since October of last year for killing a man who participated in an attempted gang rape in order to "correct" her homosexuality (she had previously moved out of the neighborhood as she had already been subjected to violence). There has been no progress in the judicial system for Higui's case and it has garnered international attention on social media.
At 20:45 a group of men threw stones and glass bottles at the Metropolitan Cathedral as well as setting fire to cardboard boxes, apparently angered by the protest and telling the police protecting the marchers to "give back the women," accusing them of being "pimps." The police used pepper spray, water cannons and, eventually, rubber bullets for the small group to disperse.
About the economy: tidbits for Monday small-talk
The month of May saw another record in asphalt consumption, with a 175% rise in comparison to May of last year, which translates to 49,100 metric tons. According to the Ministry of Transport, it was "the best May in history" for road asphalt (for those of you keeping count).
The "Bajemos los precios" (Let's bring down prices) has garnered a million signatures. The initiative includes two potential bills: one to bring down the VAT on 11 basic food products and another to regulate supermarket shelves. The campaign is being put led by the Sergio Massa (Renewal Front, FR) and Margarita Stolbizer (Generation for a National Encounter, GEN).
According to the private consulting firm Ecolatina, inflation has clocked in at over 10% in the first five months of the year, which is higher than many would like. The National Statistics Bureau (INDEC) is set to give official figures this Thursday.
On Saturday, Argentina shipped bovine meat to the Philippines for the first time. The Minister for Agroindustry, Ricardo Buryaile, praised the effort behind the 27-ton shipment of frozen, boneless cuts, emphasising that the Philippines is a potentially huge market.
This weekend was a good one for Boca Juniors fans, as not only did the team beat Independiente on Sunday 3-0 but their main rivals in the tournament (and their declared enemy) River Plate lost to San Lorenzo hours earlier, helping to consolidate Boca's position at the top of the table. However, nothing is set in stone. Boca is just four points ahead of River with three matches still to go and thus, nine points for the taking.
In other football news, the vice president of Newells football club was arrested yesterday on suspicion of drug trafficking: he was flagged on trying to enter a football stadium in Santa Fe province, where his ID card was scanned.
Meanwhile, Juan Martín Del Potro was eliminated from the Roland Garros tournamente in Paris after giving way to Andy Murray, who beat him 7-6 (10-8), 7-5, 6-0. Despite the outcome, French spectators cheered loudly for "Delpo" as he left the pitch.
Defacing and defending the dead
The mausoleum that houses the remains of former president Raúl Alfonsín, the first to lead the country after the fall of the dictatorship in 1982, was vandalised on Saturday. This was widely condemned on social media by people across the political spectrum, including President Mauricio Macri and former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. On Sunday, around 300 people went to the Recoleta cemetery to lay red and white flowers — the colours of the Radical party — at the mausoleum and Alfonsín's son, Ricardo, said a few words. The graffiti was cleaned immediately.
Key: some things to look out for this week
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to visit President Mauricio Macri on Thursday. This is Merkel's first time in Argentina, where the agenda will allegedly revolve around the G-20 — which will take place in Hamburg in July and next year in Argentina. She will leave for Mexico on Friday, so the schedule is set to be jam-packed.
The Chamber of Deputies will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Argentine law that recognises the Armenian Genocide at 18:00 today in Congress (Salón de los Pasos Perdidos).
Some of you may have watched Roland Garros matches over the weekend: today, June 5th, marks the 40th anniversary of Guillermo "Willy" Vilas' ´victory at the famous French Open. Vilas' 1977 win was Argentina's first major tournament and was one of the high points of his very successful career. Many have attributed the sport's national popularity to him.
Source: La Nación
If knowledge is power, being informed helps you power through the morning. Or at least have a conversation or two. Happy Monday!